Fresh out of ideas for date night? I've got your back – I've been tracking down tried and tested bars and restaurants guaranteed to get the night off to a sexy start.
A solid late-night option for Northwest nommers, Le Happy is a crepe restaurant masquerading as a trendy dive bar (think red lightbulbs and fake flowers). The variety here is mind-boggling: where else can you get a crepe filled with tofu, cilantro, cucumbers, onions, fermented black beans and panang sauce?
This candle-lit Southern eatery dishes out creative, comforting takes on New Orleans classics. Must order: barbecue shrimp in a lick-the-bowl-clean-it’s-so-good sauce of white wine, pepper, Worcestershire, lemon, and plenty of butter.
Super eco-friendly sky-high wine bar with their own garden on the roof. One of the best views on the east side. Great happy hour nibbles.
Portland's best "secret" brunch without a wait. Order a bunch of small plates for the table, but don't miss the large plate of toasted bread, French butter, and jam. Trust me.
From the wood-fired pizzas and handmade pastas to the pitch-perfect cocktails, the menu is a veritable Greatest Hits playlist of my favorite Italian foods. Insalata Nostrana is my pick for the best salad in town. Tip: head to Nostrana for late-night happy hour and get $5 pizzas and $5 glasses of wine every night after nine pm.
Best cocktails in town meets sophisticated, adventurous, and internationally-inspired seasonal cuisine. Communal tables, ultra-hip clientele, and some damn good French fries. Now serving brunch!
Northeast Alberta’s sweet little saké and sushi bar, has curb appeal that extends to the hip interior, and the kitchen dishes up comforting flavors and a sake list so long it’ll surely impress your arm candy.
Delish Swedish food in an oh-so-cute setting. Stop in for Happy Hour or dinner to avoid the long brunch lines, and try the Surf & Turf Bord (salami, ham, gravlax, smoked trout, pickled herring, and a wedge of cheese).
This sexy neighborhood restaurant-meets-wine-bar offers up European class & unassuming high-style. Head in for a late-night weekend burger & vieux carre.
Perfect for date night or a drop-in glass of rosé off East Burnside (come summertime they have 10 rosés by glass) with a daily-rotating wine list and expert staff.
Best green papaya salad in town. Shredded papaya tossed with veggies, Thai chiles, and whole peanuts, then doused with a dressing with hints of tamarind and lime. Comes with a side of grilled shrimp and a heap of sticky rice for a satisfying meal.
A former pizza parlor got the Cinderella treatment and is now a colorful haven for farm-to-fork cuisine. No wait for brunch--get the polenta w/ mushroom gravy! All salads are delicious.
This craft cocktail bar serves the most sophisticated drinking food in town. Try the black tea fried chicken or braised short rib, and try at least three cocktails.
My favorite vegan restaurant in Portland, Portobello serves home style Italian fare that even a Tuscan grandmother could love. Great cocktails (and mocktails) too! Try brunch.
This simple-yet-refined Italian favorite jumped from unknown to lines-out-the-door thanks to a 2012 Bon Appetite article. Totally deserving of the hype (and worth the wait). Try the soup.
When three young chefs combine forces with international influences, the result is an eclectic and flavorful menu of modern dishes like crispy pig ear salad and heirloom tomato french toast with preserved lemon aioli.
Bruce Carey’s pizzeria dishes out Neapolitan-style pies and calzones, from a brick oven made from Vesuvian ash, next to the original Voodoo Doughnuts. Great full bar and an impressive selection of Italian wines.
Walking into Ambonnay is like walking into a very small, very posh party. David Speer’s 20-seat Champagne bar is decked out with sparkling chandeliers, mirror mosaics, gold walls, and a list of bubbly that will make any Champagne lover ready to sit and stay a while.
One of the best happy hour menus in town with amazing decor. You can load up a whole table with $2-$5 Vietnamese appetizers like fish sauce wings, papaya salad, and shrimp-wrapped sugarcanes.
This wine-centric spot used to be Vino Paradiso, but relaunched with a new Piedmontese & pairing focus. Try the handmade pastas and bagna caôda.
With a focus on oven-fired pizzas, stromboli, and cecina along with a select few family-style entrees, Cibo is a great place for casual fare and friendly service decked out in cozy-chic decor.
Kelly Myers and Elizabeth Davis' upscale casual Mexican eatery has handmade tortillas, refined entrees, summery cocktails, and a colorful, eco-friendly design. Try the lunch window!
With rock-bottom prices on glass pours and sophisticated-yet-affordable vino-friendly nosh (deviled quail eggs, anyone?), Fausse Piste winemaker Jesse Skiles’s signless Sauvage is a speakeasy even a vintner could love.
Paley's Imperial boasts new-old-fashioned fare ranging from roubust steaks topped with chanterelles and garlic herb butter to sophisticated salads for lovers of greens who lunch.
Awesome rotisserie chicken, sandwiches, and meats to-go from the deli case. This location is home to OP's USDA-certified meat facility, but the eatery is anything but industrial
Sweet and romantic French-inflected restaurant with a woman-powered kitchen, great cocktails, refined entrees, and a must-try happy hour menu. Sundays are all-day industry happy hour.
This super-affordable neighborhood spot serves up fresh vegetarian spins on Latin flavors with plenty of creative cocktails to match. The decor is mid-century-modern meets colonial Spanish chic, and the space is broken up into several areas to match your current date night mood from a classic bar to cozy tables.
This seafood favorite serves up modern spins on aquatic Northwest comfort food. Ask Dana Frank for wine recommendations, she won't steer you wrong. Try the fried fish bones.